Idaho’s August Unemployment Rate Declined to 2.8 Percent


For Immediate Release: Sept. 21, 2018
Information Contact:  Robert Kabel (208) 332-3570 ext. 3886 or Karen Jarboe Singletary (208) 332-3570 ext. 3215

Over-the-Year Job Growth Remains Strong

Idaho’s seasonally adjusted unemployment rate declined slightly to 2.8 percent in August, continuing at or below 3 percent for the 12th consecutive month.

The state’s labor force – the total number of people 16 years of age and older working or looking for work – was virtually unchanged at 852,878 people, breaking a streak of month-to-month increases.

Total employment increased by 676 to 828,864, continuing to grow though at a slower rate than earlier in the year. The number of unemployed decreased by 588 people to 24,603.

Idaho’s labor force participation declined one-tenth of a percentage point to 63.7 percent.

Over the year, Idaho’s statewide labor force increased by 15,884 (1.9 percent) in August, total employment grew by 17,400 (2.1 percent) and there were 1,516 (5.9 percent) fewer unemployed workers.

Online Idaho job openings were down slightly in August at 25,271 compared with 25,344 a year ago, according to the Conference Board, a Washington, D.C., think tank. At 5,755, fewer of those jobs were classified as hard to fill by department analysts (listed for 90 days or more), down from 6,246 in August 2017. Health care occupations, including physicians, surgeons, psychiatrists, occupational and physical therapists and support positions, represented about 15 percent of all hard-to-fill online openings.

Total nonfarm jobs decreased by 1,500 in August. Manufacturing, construction, other services and government all exceeded seasonal expectations for a combined increase of 800 jobs. Natural resources, information and financial activities remained unchanged. Leisure and hospitality, professional and business services, education and health services and trade, transportation and utilities had a combined decrease of 2,300 jobs, outweighing modest gains in other sectors.

Year over year, the state continued to see strong job growth as employers increased payrolls. Total nonfarm jobs grew by 3.1 percent for a total of 22,000 jobs. Construction and manufacturing grew more than 5 percent, gaining a total of 5,900 jobs. All other sectors saw some over-the-year gains, except for information which went unchanged from August 2017.

Two of Idaho’s five Metropolitan Statistical Areas – Boise and Coeur d’Alene – experienced month-over-month job gains. Boise jobs grew by 1,100, while Coeur d’Alene added 300 jobs. Idaho Falls and Lewiston had job losses of 300 and 200 jobs, respectively, while Pocatello’s nonfarm jobs went unchanged from July to August.

Over the year, Idaho’s five MSAs all experienced gains in nonfarm payroll employment. Boise added 11,400 jobs (3.6 percent), Coeur d’Alene added 2,600 jobs (4.1 percent), Idaho Falls added 1,800 jobs (2.7 percent), Pocatello added 900 jobs (2.5 percent) and Lewiston added 300 jobs (1 percent).

Annually, unemployment insurance benefit payments were down 15.5 percent from a weekly average of $1.1 million a year ago to $934,000 weekly for August 2018. The number of claimants decreased by 14 percent to 3,260 from a weekly average of 3,780 a year ago.

The national unemployment rate remained unchanged at 3.9 percent. The number of unemployed persons declined by 46,000 to 6.2 million in August. Both measures were down over the year, by 0.5 percentage point and 893,000, respectively.

County data will be released on Monday, Sept. 24.

September 2018 labor force and nonfarm payroll data for Idaho will be released on Oct. 19.

For details on Idaho’s labor market, visit

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